Best starter in Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl

Pokemon Gen 4 Starters
Pokemon Gen 4 Starters (Image credit: iMore)

The starter you choose at the beginning of Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl plays a huge influence on the rest of the game. Each of them can help you beat the game, but due to several reasons, one starter stands out from the rest. So, regardless of which starter you think looks the best or has your favorite element type, Chimchar is the best choice among the three if you want an easier playthrough. The other two are best for people who want a more challenging playthrough.

But why Chimchar?

But Why Chimchar Pokemon (Image credit: iMore)

There are several reasons why Chimchar is the best choice. Believe me, I'm not happy about this, and I'm sure many of you aren't either. My favorite starter is Piplup, but Chimchar does have advantages that the other starters don't offer.

Reason #1 Fire-type scarcity

As with all Pokémon games, the Gen IV remakes follow a type system. Many entries in the series do a decent job balancing out the different types of Pokémon you encounter throughout your journey. However, Diamond and Pearl's Pokédex has a rather significant shortage of Fire types, and the same holds true in the Gen IV remakes. Therefore, if you want any hope of getting a decent Fire-type Pokémon early on, your only hope is to go with Chimchar.

Note: Of course, if you decide to go with Turtwig or Piplup, you'll just want to capture and train up a Ponyta or other Fire Pokémon as soon as you can to make the rest of the game a little more doable. This fiery horse can be found on Route 206, 210, 211, 214, and 215.

Reason #2 Gym effectiveness

Chimchar Evolutions (Image credit: iMore)


  • Chimchar (Fire) → Monferno (Fire/Fighting) → Infernape (Fire/Fighting)

Chimchar might struggle against the first Rock-type gym leader, but if you get him to level 14 and evolve him to Monferno first, he'll learn Fighting moves and will breeze through the battle. After that, his Fire and Fighting attacks are a very powerful choice against the following gyms. Not to mention, he's the best choice to use against the Elite Four at the end of the game since he can easily KO at least two of each Elite Member's Pokémon.

Note: Rapidash, Ponyta's evolution, can be decently effective at the end here as well. But since it doesn't know Fighting-type moves, it won't be as effective against some of the Pokémon you face.

Chimchar for president

Chimchar is by far the best starter to choose in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl if you want an easier playthrough. Of course, if you're looking for more of a challenge or you really don't want to have Chimchar as your starter, Piplup and Turtwig can help you fight your way to the end as well.

Rebecca Spear
Gaming Editor

Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.